SPCA lays charge against crocodile farmer

2012-04-26 15:21

Johannesburg - The National Council of SPCAs has laid a criminal charge against a crocodile farmer in Pongola, northern KwaZulu-Natal, for animal cruelty.

"Crocodiles are being exploited and made to suffer to fuel the demand for the glamour market, which includes the manufacture of handbags, belts and shoes from crocodile skins," said Nazareth Appalsamy, the council's national inspector for its farm animal unit.

There were about 15 000 crocodiles on Coen Labuschagne's farm Metcroc Boerdery, he said.

Three months before being slaughtered, those chosen were put into in a single pen (one pen per crocodile). This was meant to ensure there were no blemishes on the animal's thick skin, Appalsamy told Sapa on Thursday.

He said the pens measured less than a metre across and were under two metres long.

"Some of the crocodiles themselves are more than two metres in length and so their tails are bent in the enclosure, or their heads have to be permanently at an angle. They basically cannot lie or rest straight. There is no shade cloth or shelter or any heating requirements, which would be necessary depending on the season."

Social species

These single pens were known as "finishing pens", as their purpose was to "restrict movement, increase growth and ultimately avoid confrontation or interaction among other crocs, guaranteeing no injuries to the skins".

He said this was cruel as crocodiles were a social species.

"The pens are too small, too shallow and unsheltered, and this is in contravention of the SA national standard for crocodiles in captivity... and the Animal Protection Act."

Labuschagne said this was the first he had heard of a criminal charge.

"I didn't know there was a charge laid against me," he told Sapa via phone from Mozambique.

He said he had recently submitted a letter to the SPCA requesting an arbitration hearing.

"I am 100% on the right side. I am not wrong. They just want to prosecute for the sake of prosecuting."

He denied claims about the size of the pens.

"That's a lie. It is wrong what they are saying. I don't know where they got those measurements from."

Labuschagne would return to South Africa next Tuesday. He would consult with a lawyer, and did not want to comment further.

Appalsamy said the NSPCA had consulted with the SA Crocodile Farmers' Association, of which Labuschagne is a member, before laying the charge.

  • Shirley - 2012-04-26 15:28

    Man and his greed,senseless cruelty and utter lack of respect for other species never ceases to shock me! I hope this cruel,greedy inhumane person doesnt just get a little fine!!!! Start giving punishment to fit the "cruelness" of the crime! Boycott his farm and all goods coming from it!

      Squeegee - 2012-04-26 15:55

      So its better for them to fight and bite each other than to be separated? Hey, I'm against cruelty to animals, but this seems a bit iffy. I'd like to hear the farmers side too...

  • Helmut - 2012-04-26 15:31

    Feed him to the croc's

      Jayson - 2012-04-26 15:34

      Jinx. Lol.

  • Jayson - 2012-04-26 15:32

    I hope the throw him to the crocodiles.

  • Dassie - 2012-04-26 15:35

    Oh Thixo.

  • andre.rabie3 - 2012-04-26 15:37

    And what about cattle being hit with a Panga, in urban town, and thats fine, i rest my case, 3 sides to a story, yours his and the truth so flipping wait for the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Inja - 2012-04-26 15:42

      Have you aver witnessed that or just heard?

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-04-26 15:38

    And this coming from an organization that cannot even police their own staff...

      Joyce - 2012-04-26 15:53

      That's a broad statement - meaning? No one can police their own staff 24/7 so it/s up to the public to bring complaints to them - what's yours?

      Louise - 2012-04-26 17:11

      Robbie - if you have a genuine complaint against a specific spca then in all conscience you MUST report it to the national council (who govern each independent society - as all are independent and autonomous) and will investigate. You can go onto their web site National Council of SPCA's for contact details. BTW your complaint must be in writing.

  • Philemon - 2012-04-26 15:44

    These animals should be locked up like this all the time. To many of my brothers have dissapeared due to these beings while crossing the borders!

      Shirley - 2012-04-26 16:04

      You are an ignoramous!

      Irene - 2012-04-26 16:13

      Tell your brothers to cross the border like all normal people should instead of coming in illegally. In the case of your brothers, I say well done to the crocs for doing the job the police should have been doing.

      lyzettemcm - 2012-04-26 16:14

      O please. Seriously? YOur brothers should not be crossing the borders.

      joeballito - 2012-04-26 16:19

      Goeie een Phill,like your humour!!!!

      Marion - 2012-04-26 16:25

      Ooops Philemon. Taken very seriously by others I see.

      Linda - 2012-04-26 16:25

      You are joking, right?

      Gavin - 2012-04-26 16:34

      Your brothers should be charged for trying to feed the poor animals a bad diet.

  • Lerato - 2012-04-26 15:50

    If his crocs are being cramped into these tiny cages; I wonder how he treats his workers

      Squeegee - 2012-04-26 15:57

      He allows them to swim freely with the crocs. Idiot, what have the two got to do with one another?

      Fred - 2012-04-27 04:00

      This is truly a dumb statement! Hahaha!

  • Heiku - 2012-04-26 15:54

    SPCA is turning into PETA.

      Louise - 2012-04-26 17:14

      There are guidelines to production animal husbandry - this farmer appears to be in contravention of the law or the Animal Protection Act - what on earth makes you feel they are turning into PETA - the law is the law and all should be applied to all species, that is the SPCA's mandate, without exception of species!!!

  • Marion - 2012-04-26 15:57

    First it was chickens now it's crocodiles. If this farmer is raising his crocodiles in inhumane conditions he must be prosecuted. At least the NSPCA seems to be doing some work. My experience of them is that they don't do what they should/could to help injured/endangered animals. Like to put the onus on the one reporting the problem. The Animal Anti Cruelty League however has always responded when I have called them to assist animals. Every time. I support the AACL, not the NSPCA.

  • Jane - 2012-04-26 16:12

    @Squeegee, it is cruel to keep such a large animal in such a small enclosure for 3 months, he can't even turn around or straighten his tail, can you imagine how painfull this must be? @ Andre no-one said that hitting cows with Panga's is ok, thats just as cruel and inhumane as this, and if you have personally witnessed this, why didnt you report it to the SPCA? @ Philemon, maybe if your "brothers" came into the country legally instead of swimming across the borders they might still be alive. What kind of idiot swims across a river that has crocodiles in it?

  • Chabi - 2012-04-26 17:07

    We have started an "Anti Cruelty League" to protect all plants, We are calling on all Beefeaters to unite and join our march tommorrow to Union Building before its name change this weekend.... This grass eating is a "COWardly" thing & must be stopped....Beefaters & Border Crossing brothers + anyone sick & tired of the SPCA is welcome, corocodile biltong is on the house !!!

  • Daan - 2012-04-26 18:01

    Daar is 'n wrede moer in elke gemeenskap.

  • Bronwyn - 2012-04-26 18:41

    Don't get me wrong, I love animals too, but the greed is also from Gvnts side !! Its the only reason he is being fined. What about the poor 8yr old girl who was raped and her eyes gauged out! Please loook at our human children first, protect them too!!!!

  • Fred - 2012-04-27 04:06

    I do not particularly like crocodile meat or products made from crocodile skin, but I will surely from now on buy such products in support of this businessman. Big up to him.

  • Don - 2012-04-27 21:28

    Then all of you that eat eggs should be fed to the chickens and all who eat beacon be fed to the pigs. Go barefoot, poor cattle that died for your shoes. Jesseys, oh my gosh wool. Where do we stop. If it was not for crocodile farmers there would not be crocodiles!

  • Gareth Hart - 2014-06-17 19:49

    Money the root of all evil? Force the farmer to do the same!

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